August 2011


Here is August’s review of blog posts.  Next week our post will be on Tuesday. We hope everyone has a good Labor Day weekend!

 

Get Rich Slowly10 Easy Ways to Lower Your Electric Bill – Short of purchasing all new energy efficient appliances and air conditioner, here are some easy and cheap (or free) ways of saving some money on  your electric bill.

 

Get Rich SlowlyThe Mighty Power of the Lowly Coin Jar (or, How I Saved $723 in Seven Months Without Effort) – Using a coin jar is a great idea, especially when you use cash on all your “Wants.” Don’t underestimate how easy and effective saving your change can be!

 

Good Financial CentsWhat Happens When Your 401K Sucks? – Unfortunately not all companies provide good 401(K)s for their employees. What should you do if you work for one of those companies?

 

The Simple DollarBalancing Giving and Saving  – Charitable giving and personal savings need not be mutually exclusive.

 

The Simple Dollar False Labeling (for Frugality’s Sake) – Would you rather fill up and empty name brand bottle with the generic product so that your guests won’t know you didn’t buy the name brand?

 

Please let us know if you have a favorite financial blog that you think we should be reading.

 

This weekend over at The Simple Dollar, there was a post by Trent Hamm called “Don’t Just Know, Do.” The idea of this post is that it really doesn’t matter how much knowledge you have unless you take action. Gathering great ideas will never help you unless you do something about those ideas.

If you’ve been reading Ironclad Finances, you know our goal is to provide ideas to readers about personal finance. Sometimes we write about our own knowledge, coming from our experience working in financial planning. Other times we pass on knowledge from others. Have you found any ideas that you think useful? We hope so. Have you implemented any of those ideas in your own life?

As our disclaimer says, you have to use your own judgment as to whether any idea you find here is right for your own life. But we hope that if you have found something useful, you don’t just think about it, you act on that idea. Even if it doesn’t end up helping you in the long run, at least you tried and you can stop thinking about it.

From The Simple Dollar:

Changing your life comes from action, not from just thinking about it. You might know exactly what you need to do. You might even think of those actions as common sense. Still, if you’re not actually doing those things, nothing is ever going to really change in your life.

We’ve talked here before about the importance of having an emergency fund. While this type of fund can be used for any emergency that may arise, the true use of this money is if you lose your job. It can help get you through until you can find a new one. But what if your new job doesn’t pay as much as your old one did?

 

If you’re facing a permanent loss of income due to a lower paying job, what should you be doing? You obviously can’t keep living on your $60,000 salary when you’re now making $45,000. And while your emergency fund can be used to help you while you’re making changes, you shouldn’t wait too long before adjusting your lifestyle to fit your new income.

 

Here are some things to consider if you find yourself in this position.

 

  • Be realistic – It’s won’t be easy accepting the idea that you suddenly will be making less. You’ll likely feel underpaid and maybe even undervalued. But honestly, if the options are a lower income or no income, sometimes you just have to make the decision to work for less, especially when you have a family to support. While the lower paying job may not be forever, it’s your reality right now, and you need to make decisions on how you’re going to live.
  • Cut the easy stuff – Everyone has things they wouldn’t be heartbroken over cutting out of their budget: gym memberships, cable, dining out, hobby allowance, etc. It’s the stuff you enjoy having, but don’t need (your “Wants”). While you don’t necessarily have to cut them out completely, you will definitely have to readjust how much you can afford to spend.
  • Cut the hard stuff – Can you still afford your car payment? Your mortgage payment? Can you afford to fund your kid’s activities? If your income has dropped significantly, you will likely need to make some difficult decisions, and the sooner the better. You don’t want to find yourself in a position where you’ve exhausted your savings and run up your credit card to keep a house you no longer can afford, and then end up losing that house a year down the road because you can’t make the mortgage payments with your lower income. It will not be an easy choice, but it will be easier than dealing with the financial consequences if you don’t let go.

 

Obviously, how much you will have to readjust will depend on how much income you lose. It will also depend on your current lifestyle. If you already live well below your means, you shouldn’t have a problem living on a lesser income.

 

Please check out our All Your Worth series. It may be helpful when you are working through your budget.

I (Dawn) am back from vacation. I had a great time with family, but it will probably take me a week to get back on track. It’s never easy to come back to work after being gone!

Since I’m not in the frame of mind to write a longer post, check out this post from Get Rich Slowly: Playing to Win: Turning Money Management into a Game.

The idea of the post is to turn different aspects of your personal finances into a game that you can feel like you’re winning, which can help you make progress. Feeling like you’re winning will help to motivate you and make you feel good about your finances.

It’s an interesting idea, one we hope you find useful. We’ll be back next week with a longer post!